Monday, November 3, 2014

Optometrist, dentist and chiropractor PACs support Selzer

By Andy Marso
KHI News Service

TOPEKA — Political action committees run by the state's dentists, chiropractors and optometrists donated a total of $4,000 in the last few months to support the campaign of Ken Selzer, the Republican candidate for Kansas insurance commissioner.

Ten other medically related PACs stayed out of that race, while the Kansas Independent Pharmacy PAC gave to both Selzer and his Democratic opponent, Dennis Anderson.

Selzer is an accountant with Aon Benfield, a reinsurance company. Anderson is a co-founder of A.D. Banker & Company, which provides continuing education to insurance agents. Neither has served in state government.

The insurance commissioner's race is the only one of the six statewide elected offices that does not feature an incumbent this year, as Republican Sandy Praeger is not seeking re-election.
Kevin Robertson, executive director of the Kansas Dental Association, said it was a little more difficult to vet Selzer and Anderson than candidates in other races because they don't have a voting record or history in office. But the dental PAC officials decided to donate $1,000 to Selzer's campaign because they anticipate he will tend to support health care providers rather than insurance companies.

"As far as taking our side on insurance issues," Robertson said, "I don’t think it’s any shock that providers and insurance companies kind of have a love-hate relationship.”

Robertson noted that the dental PAC did not give a maximum donation to either candidate and said he would not be worried if Anderson prevails.

“I’m sure he’ll be just fine if he were to win," Robertson said. "We don’t really have a lot of concerns either way.”

The Kansas Optometric PAC gave $2,000 and the Kansas Chiropractors Association PAC gave $1,000 to Selzer's campaign. The Kansas Independent Pharmacy PAC gave $500 each to Anderson and Selzer.

Gary Robbins, executive director of the Kansas Optometric Association, said both Anderson and Selzer are "nice guys," but some of the optometric PAC board members had met Selzer and were impressed by him.

“Our people were a little more comfortable with Ken," Robbins said. "They thought he had a little more experience.”

In total, the state's medical PACs spent about $233,000 in the run-up to Tuesday's general election, which was almost double their primary spending. The bulk of the money went to donations for the state's 125 House races, and most of it went to support incumbents or those running unopposed.